SEATTLE – It was a fastball away from Tampa Bay starter David Price that Seattle's Justin Smoak swung through Tuesday night to end the game that looked very familiar to Rays teammate Chris Archer. Where did he see that before? Oh, yeah, a few hours earlier.
Price and Archer spent part of their afternoon watching video of Price's complete-game win at Boston late in the 2012 season. How did that game end? With Mauro Gomez swinging through a 96-mph fastball.
“When he did it tonight I ran out and said, 'Exact same pitch you threw in that highlight.' Unbelievable,” Archer said. “If you don't believe in manifesting your destiny, that's a perfect example of putting something on your mind and executing it.”
It was a night for the unbelievable and the unexpected.
The Rays rallied in the ninth inning against former closer Fernando Rodney to beat the Seattle Mariners 2-1 at Safeco Field.
The win was the second in the last seven games for the Rays.
It was he first time in 21 tries that the Rays won when trailing after the eighth inning. It was also the second time this season they won despite being shut out for eight innings
“We needed a win, period, whether it was a blowout or a game like that we had to battle back and win late,” Price said. “It was good.”
David DeJesus tied the score 1-1 with a leadoff home run off Rodney, and Matt Joyce finished the rally with a two-out RBI single.
Price went the distance for his second complete-game of the season. He struck out 12 and didn't walk a batter.
“Unbelievable,” Joyce said of Price's performance. “It was nice to see him throwing harder and putting everything where he wanted and being himself. I don't want to say that's what we expect of him, but that's what he's capable of doing every night.”
Price hadn't won in three starts. With his team struggling, he decided it was time to find the David Price that won 20 games and the American League Cy Young Award in 2012.
Hence, watching that video with Archer.
“I was a completely different pitcher tonight on the mound with essentially everything,” Price said. “Back to my old self.”
And maybe a new Price, too.
He wore his pants legs up for the first time since his last game in 2009 with Triple A Durham. He borrowed Archer's stripe socks.
Stripes for Price?
“Figure I needed to switch it up a little bit,” Price said.
He slapped on some after-shave, courtesy of manager Joe Maddon, who brought in seven bottles of cologne before the game because Maddon believes in aroma therapy and his team certainly needed something to break out of the funk.
Price went with Aqua Velva Blue.
“Like my dad had,” he said.
Price allowed a run in the first inning when James Jones slapped a double past Evan Longoria then came home on a pair of ground balls to the right side of the infield. Price allowed doubles in the second, fourth and sixth innings but kept the runners right where they were, escaping each jam with ease.
Robinson Cano singled and reached second on a passed ball in the sixth inning but didn't advance any further, because Price remained in control much like he did in 2012.
“That was totally like that,” Maddon said. “His focus was outstanding. The way he handled every moment. When there was a little trouble, he didn't lose his tempo or his rhythm or whatever. He stayed right there and made really good pitches when he wanted to.”
Mariners starter Hisashi Iwakuma was equally as dominating, thought not as overpowering as Price. He held the Rays to four hits and struck out five during his eight scoreless innings.
Rodney came on for the ninth to finish off his old team, but DeJesus put a stop to that with his fourth home run of the year.
DeJesus fell behind 0-2, dodged an inside fastball that knocked him to the dirt then hit a hanging changeup into the right-field seats.
“I looked at the outfielder. He got to the wall. I said 'Oh, gosh I got a shot,' ” DeJesus said.
He was so excited rounding the bases that smacked third base coach Tom Foley's hand rather hard.
“He came up to me in the dugout after the inning, hit me in the head and said, 'Don't ever hit me like that again,' ” DeJesus said.
Rodney struck out Longoria and got Ben Zobrist to foul out then allowed a two-out single to James Loney. Desmond Jennings followed with a single, and Joyce gave the Rays the lead with his third hit of the night, scoring pinch-runner Sean Rodriguez.
That the win came against their old friend wasn't as important as the fact they finally rallied in the ninth for a win.
“It's just nice to come from behind against a really good closer, like Rodney,” Joyce said. “It gives us confidence in those situations going forward.”
Price went back out for the bottom of the ninth to finish what he started and retired the Mariners in order.
“It was a really interesting game,” Maddon said. “David dominated it. David, really, we don't win that game without him pitching tonight.”